IBM launched a new marketing assault on its vast but aging System/36 base last week as it brought out three CPUs at the low end of its AS/400 line, including its fourth so-called Entry model that runs S/36 software but which is the first that can be field upgraded to full AS/400 capability.
In addition to the introduciton of the new computers, as well as new sotware and peripherals, IBM issued a statement of direction, noting it plans to expand AS/400 performance with a field-upgradable model offering twice the current high-end B70 performance in mid-1991.
Industry sources said the moves signal IBM’s intent to boost the price/performance of its proprietary systems to keep pace with similar developments that have occurred in the so-called open systems market based on industry standard architectures and operating systems. Fueling IBM’s intent at the low end, they noted, is the sizeable base of the company’s earlier equipment, in this particular instance of S/36 machine, which the firm has previously said amounts to some 200,000.
The latest AS/Entry model comes about 11 months after IBM brought out the initial Entry models, (EN, October 2, 1989) that extended the S/36 architecture but incorporated some of the newer technologies found in the AS/400, which when originally introduced were…